Emerald Group Publishing Limited
Article Type: Editorial From: Development and Learning in Organizations: An International Journal, Volume 29, Issue 2
We continue to experience the, albeit for some, slow, shift away from “command and control” in how organizations are run. Recognising this, Ulrik Brandi and Rosa Iannone offer a glimpse as to how the more social types of innovative organizational learning technologies (iOLTs) mirror this shift in culture and practice (pages 3-5). Traditional Learning Management Systems will become increasingly irrelevant and L&D professionals will need to quickly learn how to inculcate approaches that encourage, as the authors so aptly put it, “[…] social, spontaneous and contextual learning […]”.
Recognition of the importance and power of all types of social networks is ever increasing, and Swati Panda and Shridhar Dash share an intriguing case study (pages 6-9) of a social start-up in India. The entrepreneur involved developed a highly successful venture through drawing people into his network and utilizing, what the authors refer to as, “strong” and “weak” ties. Some might say that the fact that the organization was a social enterprise probably had a positive impact on how willing people were to get involved. However, it is still a great example of what can be achieved when people are personally stirred by something, get on board and are then able to work in a way that is purposeful to them.
The benefits of dialogue, openness and involvement are also highlighted in our second case study (pages 10-13). Lampros Lamprinakis succinctly describes how Valio (a Finnish dairy company) achieved a massive turnaround from a product- to a market-oriented company when the trade barriers were removed on Finland’s accession to the European Union. Contrary to the 80 per cent or so of change initiatives that fail to achieve their stated objectives, Valio succeeded through truly involving all internal stakeholders in the change process from initial diagnosis through to implementation.
Our third case study, from The Netherlands, shares the benefits that can be gained from taking a strategic approach to corporate volunteering (pages 14-17). The key message, again, is around engaging with participants in the design, as well as the implementation, of any strategy. The authors, Evgenia Lysova and Asta Saduikyte, make particular note of the social capital developed through the programme.
As is the case in many countries, Malaysia relies heavily on the contribution of its SME sector to GDP, employment and export levels – and it has tough targets to become a developed, high-income nation by 2020. Luqman Satiman et al. assert that despite a lack of highly skilled labour and low productivity levels in the sector, investment in L&D is undervalued (pages 18-21). The proposal is that the adoption of robust ROI measures would encourage SMEs to invest more heavily in developing their workforces and, thereby, more effectively support the national aims. I’m sure some of his arguments will resonate with those involved in the SME sector in other countries.
Our first review article also links to the Malaysian 2020 plans. “Future Proofing Education” (pages 22-25) identifies a preliminary framework to enable the development of sustainable e-learning in higher education. The argument is made that investment here will boost the supply of innovative and creative graduates, and at a lower cost.
Continuing on the subject of investment in learning, we shift to a comparison between the levels of investment in managerial learning by local-origin firms and that of multi-national organizations in “India needs to improve training image” (pages 26-28). Given the evidence of the link between L&D investment and the bottom line, these organizations would do well to take note if they are to fully capitalize on India’s impressive growth figures.
In “Spanish steps to training transfer” (pages 29-31), we hear about the factors that impacted participant learning on voluntary, free-of-charge, work-related training programmes in Spain. Perhaps unsurprisingly, higher levels of autonomy, variability and complexity in participant jobs correlated to a higher level of training transfer.
Another factor that impacts “training transfer”, and one well-known to L&D professionals, is the correlation between senior organizational leader and line manager behaviour and interest in a program and the learners’ commitment to engage with it. “Trainees pick up important signals” (pages 32-34) summarizes recent research in a military setting and applies signalling theory to explain the link. Most useful in my opinion is the differentiation between discretionary and non-discretionary leader behaviour.
In conclusion, I hope you find ideas and support in this issue that will help you to move your own L&D and OD interventions in the direction of reality-based and context-driven learning. And in doing so, build the social capital of your own organizations.
Anne Gimson is CEO of Strategic Developments International, UK and Editor of DLO. E-mail: email@example.com